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Ames EDC partners with city of Boone

The City of Boone and the Ames Economic Development Commission (AEDC) have announced a new partnership that will support economic development programming for the City of Boone.

The Boone City Council, at its December 21 City Council meeting last week, ratified a twelve-month contract with the AEDC that will begin on January 1, 2021.

This agreement solidifies a regional partnership that strengthens Boone’s local economic development efforts. It will allow the tapping of new resources that have been highlighted as critically needed to keep growing the community as identified by Boone Mayor John Slight, the City Council, and City Administrator William Skare. Responsibilities within the contract include, but are not limited to, an assertive business retention and expansion program with an emphasis on making certain the City of Boone is conversant with the needs of the business community along with a wide array of workforce programming to support the Boone business community.

“We are looking forward to a strong connection to our local businesses with this partnership,” said Boone City Administrator, William Skare in a release. “We know that the majority of new jobs come from existing employers and we believe working with the team at the AEDC will help us expand those relationships and maximize those opportunities.”

The City of Boone’s relationship with Boone County Economic Growth Corp. will continue as well and this new effort with AEDC helps that organization by coming alongside while providing resources previously not available that now could be covered in the new City contract.

The contract also calls for a wide variety of workforce programming, social media development promoting opportunities in the Boone community, and support of the City as it relates to securing state and federal funding opportunities for economic development projects and other community needs.

The contract will be reviewed annually by the Boone City Council, with the AEDC providing quarterly updates to the City on progress and activity. The AEDC, which also holds contracts with the City of Ames, City of Huxley, City of Story City, Iowa State University Research Park, Nevada Economic Development Council, and Story County consists of 14 personnel that, combined, have over 60 years of economic and community development experience.

Ames EDC partners with city of Boone | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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